At this point pretty much every game system has their version of ranking. Whether it is gamerscore on Xbox Live, Trophies on PSN, or achievements on steam or within individual games there is a number attached to your gaming now. To me it is an interesting way to bring some of the naturally competitive nature of gaming out of the actual games. There are certainly people who look at that ranking as a badge of honor or a prerequisite for grouping up.
I see the same type of thing going to Cons. There can be a bit of a competition about who has been to more shows, whether more of that particular show or more Cons in general. When there are things like pins or patches that are show specific you see people wearing them with pride. I even have some fun with it by having my pinny arcade collection and my PAX show patches at the show.
While I find it fun to have things like that to sort of document your gaming and/or con-going it seems to be a bit of a doubled edged sword. I do see it causing some problem, like “cliques” that are based around being a show veteran or a certain rank in a game. On the other hand, I have also had times where I have actually made friends and contacts based around some of the pins/patches starting conversations about shows gone by, whether by people who were there or people curious about the changes since then.
Though my favorite part about these IRL achievements/trophies is the effect that they can have back home. I love when I am wearing a PAX scarf or show shirt and it sparks a conversation with someone I encounter not at the show. I have met people at work who are also into gaming just from those types of objects breaking the ice and letting us start a conversation. I’ve also been the person excited to spot a show shirt in a restaurant or at the mall.
While these IRL trophies aren’t quite the same as your online gamerscores, I think they allow for interactions that wouldn’t happen otherwise and I will probably keep wearing/carrying mine with pride.